On this 20th anniversary of the second summer of love there is a great temptation for bunnies everywhere who didn't rave to go back to the first summer of love. Patchouli scented clothes, bells and incense were the order of the day and the music was trippy. Unfortunately psychedelia begat prog and opened the door for the year zero that was punk. Punk was a reaction to the bloated bombastic ice skating abomination that some prog turned into (and surely exists in some shadowy corners even to this day). However, even iconoclasts such as Johnny Rotten eventually came clean and admitted to harbouring a grudging admiration for some things prog. For, aside from the interminable twaddle of rocked up renditions of the classics, there were progressive bands that made genuinely intriguing music, adventurous, beguiling and, amazingly, still listenable.
Loxley Beade, a Germanic group led by Brit Patrick Moore tap into this vein. Warm, organic and engaging they carry the baton from the likes of the Canterbury groups (Caravan, Hatfield and the North), the space rock of Gong and even the pastoral idylls of the early (and cool) Pink Floyd. Mix in some of the acid experimentalism of those kraut rock bands adored by Julian Cope and you have an album that intrigues and delights without falling into any nostalgic trap.
Moore's vocals are reminiscent of the young Robert Wyatt (no bad thing) and the songs are for the most part based on acoustic melodies embroidered by exotic stylings on keyboard, synthesiser and the great burbling bass of Joerg Anders. Opening song, "Fatty Morgana" starts off like a spaghetti western soundtrack, the motorik riff of "The Chrysalis Cracked" has a hypnotic groove, and "Sanctuary" just envelops the listener in an almighty soundscape with seagull guitars squalling around the ether. Definitely one for anyone whose guilty pleasures tend towards the more esoteric as opposed to reliving a glam soaked youth.